Dancers have some of the most enviable bodies around: tight and toned, but lean and graceful. Booty Barre, a group fitness class that morphed into a fitness DVD sensation, takes all the athleticism of dance and combines it with a strategic, full-body workout. Conceived three years ago in founder and adorable blonde pixie, Tracey Mallett's Los Angeles-studio, the wildly popular workouts have already gone international in gyms and fitness studios. Plus Booty Barre fans are regularly doing the workouts at home.
I'm not usually a big fan of workout DVDs. I feel uncomfortable jumping around the house and karate kicking like a lunatic. I feel like my tiny apartment is not the place for a hardcore workout. But I have made it a personal mission of mine to find more glute exercises for my repertoire, so when Booty Barre made its way onto my assignment list, I was intrigued. Ballet for a better booty? I'm all ears.
"I felt there was a need in the fitness industry for a class that was a perfect combination of strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular work," Mallett tells FitDay. "My passion in life has always been dance from a very young age and I love to watch peoples' faces light up when they start to move."
Most girls have taken at least one dance class in their lives. I personally started with ballet, but soon found grace was not my strong suit and moved into competitive gymnastics. I loved it. I miss going home after practice, exhausted, and collapsing into bed. After my hardest workout at the gym, I still don't get that same feeling. Now what do we do? We run on treadmills. We punch the air while watching a DVD in our living room. We do all this work, literally, for the sake of doing the work. No wonder no one can stick to working out.
"I think it's important to have balance and constantly keep challenging the body," Mallett says. "This also keeps the boredom at bay!"
The "Booty Barre for Beginners and Beyond" DVD was like taking a dance class - a dance class that made my legs shake, my hips burn and my mouth curse, but a dance class all the same. The workout is full of simple, basic ballet moves that target the butt, hips, and thighs. I immediately recognized some of the moves, like first position and releve, although it did take me a few stumbles to get the hang of them again. The motions themselves aren't difficult, but the slow methodical movements, and focus on proper form and squeeze is what makes them so obviously effective.
"I believe what sets [Booty Barre] apart is that our program is more movement based with controlled exercises derived from Pilates and dance," says Mallett. "Plus there is a huge fun factor with our choreography that gets people wanting to exercise."
The whole workout is slow and graceful, but don't let that fool you - even the simple position changes are burners. There's a reason ballet dancers have the insane bodies they have. But more importantly, Mallett was right, it actually is fun. For once, my focus wasn't on reps and watching the clock count down, it was on the movement itself. I wasn't squeezing to get more of a burn, I was squeezing to lift my leg as high as the other women so if someone was secretly watching me, they would think, "Wow, she's pretty good."
Mallett herself is a walking example that Booty Barre works. She does Booty Barre three times a week, goes running for 30 minutes five times a week, and does Pilates twice a week. "Pilates was introduced to me while in college studying dance, which I instantly fell in love with and believe is the foundation to fitness."
While I have no personal delusions that at 25, I can dive back into a sport I haven't touched in years and make anything less than a fool of myself, Mallett has made me want to look into a dance class, or maybe even an adult tumbling class. Or I'll probably just stick to Booty Barre for a bit - I have to make sure my booty is in leotard shape first.
Want to win a pair of Tracey Mallett Booty Barre DVDs and a free Premium FitDay Membership? It's easy! Just tell us your favorite way to exercise your booty in the comments section below. We'll randomly pick one lucky winner on Friday, August 17.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.